34 CFR 361.17 - Requirements for a state rehabilitation council.
If the State has established a Council under § 361.16(a)(2) or (b), the Council must meet the following requirements:
(a) Appointment. (1) The members of the Council must be appointed by the Governor or, in the case of a State that, under State law, vests authority for the administration of the activities carried out under this part in an entity other than the Governor (such as one or more houses of the State legislature or an independent board), the chief officer of that entity.
(2) The appointing authority must select members of the Council after soliciting recommendations from representatives of organizations representing a broad range of individuals with disabilities and organizations interested in individuals with disabilities. In selecting members, the appointing authority must consider, to the greatest extent practicable, the extent to which minority populations are represented on the Council.
(b) Composition - (1) General. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, the Council must be composed of at least 15 members, including -
(i) At least one representative of the Statewide Independent Living Council, who must be the chairperson or other designee of the Statewide Independent Living Council;
(ii) At least one representative of a parent training and information center established pursuant to section 682(a) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
(iii) At least one representative of the Client Assistance Program established under 34 CFR part 370, who must be the director of or other individual recommended by the Client Assistance Program;
(iv) At least one qualified vocational rehabilitation counselor with knowledge of and experience with vocational rehabilitation programs who serves as an ex officio, nonvoting member of the Council if employed by the designated State agency;
(v) At least one representative of community rehabilitation program service providers;
(vi) Four representatives of business, industry, and labor;
(vii) Representatives of disability groups that include a cross section of -
(A) Individuals with physical, cognitive, sensory, and mental disabilities; and
(B) Representatives of individuals with disabilities who have difficulty representing themselves or are unable due to their disabilities to represent themselves;
(viii) Current or former applicants for, or recipients of, vocational rehabilitation services;
(ix) In a State in which one or more projects are carried out under section 121 of the Act (American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services), at least one representative of the directors of the projects;
(x) At least one representative of the State educational agency responsible for the public education of students with disabilities who are eligible to receive services under this part and part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
(xi) At least one representative of the State workforce investment board; and
(xii) The director of the designated State unit as an ex officio, nonvoting member of the Council.
(2) Employees of the designated State agency. Employees of the designated State agency may serve only as nonvoting members of the Council. This provision does not apply to the representative appointed pursuant to paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section.
(3) Composition of a separate Council for a separate State agency for individuals who are blind. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, if the State establishes a separate Council for a separate State agency for individuals who are blind, that Council must -
(i) Conform with all of the composition requirements for a Council under paragraph (b)(1) of this section, except the requirements in paragraph (b)(1)(vii), unless the exception in paragraph (b)(4) of this section applies; and
(ii) Include -
(A) At least one representative of a disability advocacy group representing individuals who are blind; and
(B) At least one representative of an individual who is blind, has multiple disabilities, and has difficulty representing himself or herself or is unable due to disabilities to represent himself or herself.
(4) Exception. If State law in effect on October 29, 1992 requires a separate Council under paragraph (b)(3) of this section to have fewer than 15 members, the separate Council is in compliance with the composition requirements in paragraphs (b)(1)(vi) and (b)(1)(viii) of this section if it includes at least one representative who meets the requirements for each of those paragraphs.
(c) Majority. (1) A majority of the Council members must be individuals with disabilities who meet the requirements of § 361.5(b)(29) and are not employed by the designated State unit.
(2) In the case of a separate Council established under § 361.16(b), a majority of the Council members must be individuals who are blind and are not employed by the designated State unit.
(d) Chairperson. The chairperson must be -
(1) Selected by the members of the Council from among the voting members of the Council, subject to the veto power of the Governor; or
(2) In States in which the Governor does not have veto power pursuant to State law, the appointing authority described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section must designate a member of the Council to serve as the chairperson of the Council or must require the Council to designate a member to serve as chairperson.
(e) Terms of appointment. (1) Each member of the Council must be appointed for a term of no more than 3 years, and each member of the Council, other than a representative identified in paragraph (b)(1)(iii) or (ix) of this section, may serve for no more than two consecutive full terms.
(2) A member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the end of the term for which the predecessor was appointed must be appointed for the remainder of the predecessor's term.
(3) The terms of service of the members initially appointed must be, as specified by the appointing authority as described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, for varied numbers of years to ensure that terms expire on a staggered basis.
(f) Vacancies. (1) A vacancy in the membership of the Council must be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, except the appointing authority as described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section may delegate the authority to fill that vacancy to the remaining members of the Council after making the original appointment.
(2) No vacancy affects the power of the remaining members to execute the duties of the Council.
(g) Conflict of interest. No member of the Council shall cast a vote on any matter that would provide direct financial benefit to the member or the member's organization or otherwise give the appearance of a conflict of interest under State law.
(h) Functions. The Council must, after consulting with the State workforce investment board -
(1) Review, analyze, and advise the designated State unit regarding the performance of the State unit's responsibilities under this part, particularly responsibilities related to -
(i) Eligibility, including order of selection;
(ii) The extent, scope, and effectiveness of services provided; and
(iii) Functions performed by State agencies that affect or potentially affect the ability of individuals with disabilities in achieving employment outcomes under this part;
(2) In partnership with the designated State unit -
(i) Develop, agree to, and review State goals and priorities in accordance with § 361.29(c); and
(ii) Evaluate the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation program and submit reports of progress to the Secretary in accordance with § 361.29(e);
(3) Advise the designated State agency and the designated State unit regarding activities carried out under this part and assist in the preparation of the State plan and amendments to the plan, applications, reports, needs assessments, and evaluations required by this part;
(4) To the extent feasible, conduct a review and analysis of the effectiveness of, and consumer satisfaction with -
(i) The functions performed by the designated State agency;
(ii) The vocational rehabilitation services provided by State agencies and other public and private entities responsible for providing vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities under the Act; and
(iii) The employment outcomes achieved by eligible individuals receiving services under this part, including the availability of health and other employment benefits in connection with those employment outcomes;
(5) Prepare and submit to the Governor and to the Secretary no later than 90 days after the end of the Federal fiscal year an annual report on the status of vocational rehabilitation programs operated within the State and make the report available to the public through appropriate modes of communication;
(6) To avoid duplication of efforts and enhance the number of individuals served, coordinate activities with the activities of other councils within the State, including the Statewide Independent Living Council established under 34 CFR part 364, the advisory panel established under section 612(a)(21) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council described in section 124 of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, the State mental health planning council established under section 1914(a) of the Public Health Service Act, and the State workforce investment board;
(7) Provide for coordination and the establishment of working relationships between the designated State agency and the Statewide Independent Living Council and centers for independent living within the State; and
(8) Perform other comparable functions, consistent with the purpose of this part, as the Council determines to be appropriate, that are comparable to the other functions performed by the Council.
(i) Resources. (1) The Council, in conjunction with the designated State unit, must prepare a plan for the provision of resources, including staff and other personnel, that may be necessary and sufficient for the Council to carry out its functions under this part.
(2) The resource plan must, to the maximum extent possible, rely on the use of resources in existence during the period of implementation of the plan.
(3) Any disagreements between the designated State unit and the Council regarding the amount of resources necessary to carry out the functions of the Council must be resolved by the Governor, consistent with paragraphs (i)(1) and (2) of this section.
(4) The Council must, consistent with State law, supervise and evaluate the staff and personnel that are necessary to carry out its functions.
(5) Those staff and personnel that are assisting the Council in carrying out its functions may not be assigned duties by the designated State unit or any other agency or office of the State that would create a conflict of interest.
(j) Meetings. The Council must -
(1) Convene at least four meetings a year in locations determined by the Council to be necessary to conduct Council business. The meetings must be publicly announced, open, and accessible to the general public, including individuals with disabilities, unless there is a valid reason for an executive session; and
(2) Conduct forums or hearings, as appropriate, that are publicly announced, open, and accessible to the public, including individuals with disabilities.
(k) Compensation. Funds appropriated under Title I of the Act, except funds to carry out sections 112 and 121 of the Act, may be used to compensate and reimburse the expenses of Council members in accordance with section 105(g) of the Act.